1I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. Our brother Timothy joins me in writing. Philemon, we are sending you this letter. You are our dear friend. You work together with us.2We are also sending it to our sister Apphia and to Archippus. He is a soldier of Christ together with us. And we are sending it to the church that meets in your home.3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Prays and Gives Thanks
4I always thank my God when I remember you in my prayers.5That's because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus. I hear about your love for all of God's people.6I pray that you will be active in sharing what you believe. Then you will completely understand every good thing we have in Christ.7Your love has given me great joy. It has cheered me up. My brother, you have renewed the hearts of God's people.
Paul Makes an Appeal for Onesimus
8Because of the authority Christ has given me, I could be bold. I could order you to do what you should do anyway.9But I make my appeal to you on the basis of our love for each other. I, Paul, am an old man. I am now also a prisoner because of Christ Jesus.10I make an appeal to you for my son Onesimus. He became a son to me while I was being held by chains.11Before that, he was useless to you. But now he has become useful to you and to me.12I'm sending Onesimus back to you. My very heart goes with him.13I would have liked to keep him with me. Then he could have taken your place in helping me while I'm being held by chains because of the good news.14But I didn't want to do anything unless you agreed. Any favor you do must be done because you want to do it, not because you have to.15Onesimus was separated from you for a little while. Maybe that was so you could have him back for good.16You could have him back not as a slave. Instead, he would be better than a slave. He would be a dear brother. He is very dear to me. But he is even more dear to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.17Do you think of me as a believer who works together with you? Then welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.18Has he done anything wrong to you? Does he owe you anything? Then charge it to me.19I'll pay it back. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I won't even mention that you owe me your very life.20My brother, I wish I could receive some benefit from you because we both belong to the Lord. Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it.21I'm sure you will obey. So I'm writing to you. I know you will do even more than I ask.22There is one more thing. Have a guest room ready for me. I hope I can return to all of you in answer to your prayers.23Epaphras sends you greetings. Together with me, he is a prisoner because of Christ Jesus.24Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke work together with me. They also send you greetings.25May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
English Standard Version
1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker (Eph 3:1; 1Th 3:2; Phm 1:9)2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: (Ro 16:5; Php 2:25; Col 4:17)3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ro 1:7)
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, (Ro 1:8)5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, (Eph 1:15; Col 1:4)6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. (Php 1:9; Col 1:9)7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Ro 15:32; 2Co 7:4; 2Co 7:13; Col 4:11; 2Ti 1:16; Phm 1:20)
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, (Eph 5:4; 1Th 2:6)9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— (Phm 1:1)10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (1Co 4:15; Ga 4:19; Col 4:9; Phm 1:13; 3Jo 1:4)11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, (1Co 16:17; Php 1:7; Phm 1:10)14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. (2Co 9:7; 1Pe 5:2)15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, (Ge 45:5; Ge 45:8)16no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Mt 23:8; 1Co 7:22; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22; Col 4:9; 1Ti 6:2)17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. (2Co 8:23)18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. (1Co 16:21)20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. (Phm 1:7)21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. (2Co 2:3)22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. (2Co 1:11; Php 1:25; Php 2:24; Heb 13:19)
23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, (Ro 16:7; Col 1:7)24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. (Col 4:10; Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:10)25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Ga 6:18)